Subscribe to TrevorHoppe.com





Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a
Creative Commons License


February 3, 2009

Positional Identity on Manhunt, Adam4Adam: NYC Edition
FILED UNDER: "Gay Men's Health & Culture"
TAGS: Adam4Adamgay male culturegay men's healthhooking up onlineManhuntNew York Citypositional identity
By Trevor

In the spirit of my posts on racial diversity on Manhunt.net and Adam4Adam (see NYC; SF; Atlanta posts) -- and my recent post on positional identity on A4A and MH for San Francisco (see here) -- comes this post about the variation in tops, bottoms, and versatile-identified (what I call "positional identity") profiles on these websites for New York City!

As a recap, what I've done here is reconstructed the two website's database by doing repeated searches of profiles using narrow categories. For instance, if I want to know how many top-identified profiles exist among 18-21 year-olds, I did four searches (one for 18 y/o tops; 19 y/o tops; etc). Note that profiles ARE NOT people. And this technique for amassing data is somewhat vulnerable to human error. So take this data with a grain of salt. We need more research on this topic, to know how these identities are distributed in our communities. This is just a shot in the dark, really.

Also note that this data does not include anyone who did not identify as top/bottom/versatile. People who identified as "top/vers" were categorized as "top" here; "bottom/vers" also as "bottom." Without further ado, here's the data. There are 36,104 profiles from Manhunt documented here, and 41,738 from Adam4Adam.

Adam4Adam

As I did last time for race, I've gathered data on the distribution of positional identity categories by age group. I've dropped the last data point (58+) because: 1) it includes very few profiles; and 2) it is incredibly vulnerable to bias because of the number of people who put "99" or "69" as their age instead of their real age (a rather common practice).

The trends here are very similar to San Francisco. Like SF, there is a high percentage of bottoms in the 18-21 age group. Unlike SF, there's a similarly high percentage of versatile guys in that age bracket. This shifts quickly: by the next age group (22-25), bottoms have become the smallest group, and in the following age group (26-29), tops have become the largest group.

a4a.nyc.topbot.age.jpg

And here's the breakdown for all the profiles, overall. It's a slightly more even distribution than SF overall, with 35% of profiles ID'ing as vers; 36% as top; and around 29% as bottom.

a4a.nyc.topbot.pie.jpg

Manhunt

Now let's turn to Manhunt. As I asked for SF, the important question: is there any obvious differences from Adam4Adam, as was found with racial diversity (A4A's profiles were consistently more racially diverse than Manhunt profiles)? While there were some minor differences in the SF data, the NYC data is pretty consistent. The trends are similar. Here's the data:

mh.nyc.topbot.age.jpg

Overall, the data is also about identical:

mh.nyc.topbot.pie.jpg

With this data, I've presented further evidence for the case that there is some correlation between age and positional identity. Obviously, this relationship is unclear. There could be generational cohort differences, although I doubt this explanation. I think a more likely explanation is that these relational identities shift over time in gay men's lives. But we need to understand why. I presume many 18 year-olds identify as bottom because many men who want to have sex with them presume and want them to be bottoms. The converse may be true for 40 year-old guys. We obviously need some "real" social science research here to explain this variation with age.

I'll be back soon with the Atlanta data to complete the trifecta!

PERMALINK | Posted at 12:08 PM | Post a Comment (6)

6 Comments

Always interesting data & commentary... I agree with your interpretation that the shift in identities probably represents shifts within individuals rather than shift across cohorts (at least mostly). I'm trying to think of a potential datasource to address that question directly in. Perhaps the MACS (multi-something AIDS cohort study)? It has longitudinal data on behavior, if not positional identity. Or maybe just a straightforward set of qualitative interviews...

Bill Jesdale | February 3, 2009 5:56 PM

Thanks once again for delving into the goldmine of internet hookup sites! I love it. What next? Can't wait to find out. But you know this is one of my favorite areas, as well. I think some of the reasons are even simpler than you suggest, and can probably be distilled into one word - experience. Not that it explains the entire phenomena, I think there is probably some psycho-biology going on here as well, related to the MHC complex, as I've mentioned before. We've started collecting data in SF, although I'm not sure we're anywhere near knowing what questions to ask to understand the why within our sample. Keep up the good work Trevor, my man. Sorry I missed you in SF, we may have crossed flight paths as I was on my way to Montreal for CROI. Talk about young bottom boys - largest undergraduate population in North America.

Larry Bragg | February 12, 2009 1:38 AM

Hi Trevor!

I think it might have something to do with coming out. If you're top-oriented, you might talk yourself into sleeping with women, at least you might be able to do that until you're 22 or so (out of college, and can lead a more private life). I mean, those college years can be a very confusing time. But it would be harder to convince yourself that heterosexuality is an option if all you want is something thrust up your anus, so might as well come out, or at least get on internet hook up sites!

Anyways, that's my thought, you're the sexpert. lol.

Drew Mc | February 24, 2009 11:01 AM

Hello Trevor! Drew pointed me to your blog and I'm already a fan. This is a really cool thought experiment you did. I was surprised that there wasn't a more marked rise in versatile-oriented people as age increased. I say this because, anecdotally, I know quite a few people who started out identifying as either top or bottom and eventually realized they liked both! I was SO happy that you were upfront about the empirical shortcomings of a study like this, but I'll offer up one more: I can imagine there being an imbalance between the positional orientation of the posters on these sites and the lurkers who prefer to respond to posts and not create their own. The second group would probably contain more closeted folk who, like Drew argues, might skew top a bit. Just an idea. Keep up the good work!

Nick | February 25, 2009 5:33 PM

Disregard the last bit. I mistakenly thought the data was from post-based sites, not profile-based ones. My bad, I promise to read better next time!

Nick | February 25, 2009 5:39 PM

Hey Nick! I'm glad Drew pointed you over here, and I'm glad you're enjoying my posts -- though they've been a bit slow lately! Yes, I think that there are a number of phenomenon that we'd expect maybe to see here (like an increase in versatility with age) that doesn't show up. It's very interesting data, and I hope it provokes research on these topics. And your idea about Craigslist lurkers is interesting, and should be explored. I think you're right to suspect a disconnect between those who post and those who "lurk" -- though I'm sure there's a variety of factors there. I actually think bottoms tend to post more than tops, but it's just a hypothesis.

Anywho, glad you're reading! Keep on giving your thoughts!

Trevor Hoppe | March 1, 2009 4:23 PM


About Us
Trevorade is a community of people just like you who spend their days thinking about sex, gay men's health, and HIV/AIDS. Welcome!

We Need Your Support
We're supported almost exclusively by donations from generous souls like yourself. So please, if you enjoy the content here, shell out a few gay dollars to help us cover our hosting bills.










Clips N' Chips
Liberal-Minded. Antillean-American. Queer. Non-PC Feminist.
Joe. My. God.
Gay Culture, Short Stories, & More! NY-Based.
Kaleidoscope
 Fellow Ann Arborite and Gay Blogger. Sexuality & Human Rights focus.
Knucklecrack
Gay Activist Eric Levin's Fabulous NY-Based Blog.
Lifelube
Gay, Sexy, Healthy - Just Like You!
Pam's House Blend
She's a fabulous North Carolinian blogging about politics, LGBT and women's rights, the influence of the far Right, and race relations. What more can I say?


19th Century
ABC
abortion
abstinence
academia
Acapulco
ACLU
ACT UP
activism
Adam Lambert
Adam4Adam
Adrienne Rich
advertising
aesthetics
Africa
age of consent
AIDS in Culture
AIDS Inc
airlines
Alan Cumming
Alice Newton
Alix Olsen
Allan Berube
Amanda Blank
Amazon.com
Amber Hollibaugh
America's Next Top Model
American Idol
American Sexuality Magazine
Americans
anal queefing
anal sex
Ancient History
Anderson Cooper
Andre Cavalcante
Andrew Sullivan
Ann Arbor
Antiretrovirals
Apple
archival research
Argentina
Armed Forces
Art
art fair
astrology
atlanta
Australia
AutBar
bacon
Badlands
banned
bareback
barebacking
Barry Adams
bathhouse
Batman
Bay Area Reporter
BBC
Bea Arthur
bears
Berkeley
Bette Midler
Better World Advertising
Betty White
Beyonce
Beyond Masculinity
bi-curious
bigotry
bikes accidents
Bill Clinton
Bill Frist
Black gay men
Blackness
blogging
blow job
body image
Boston
Bottom identity
bougie white people
Brazil
Brent Corrigan
Britney Spears
Broadway
Brokeback Mountain
Bruce LaBruce
bullying
Bush Administration
Butt Magazine
California
call for papers
Calpernia Addams
Cameron Diaz
Camille Paglia
camp
campaign financing
Canada
cancer
capital punishment
capitalism
Carribean
Castro
Catholic Church
Cathy Cohen
Cazwell
CDC
Celine Dion
censorship
charity
Charlize Theron
Charlotte
Che Guevara
Cher
Chicago
China
chlamydia
Chris Bartlett
Christina Aguilera
Christina Applegate
Christopher Columbus
Chronicle of Higher Education
CIA
circuit boys
circumcision
civil rights
class politics
clubbing
CNN
cocaine
coming out
commodification
community
Community HIV/AIDS Mobilization Project
condoms
Congress
Connecticut
conservatives
cooking
copyright laws
Cornell
corporate welfare
corruption
Cortland Review
counterpublic health
country music
Craigslist
Creating Change
criminal justice
cruise ship
crystal methamphetamine
CTOPS
Cuba
cultural studies
D&X Abortions
daddies
Daily Beast
DailyKos
Dan Savage
Daniel Reeders
Danny DeVito
David Halperin
David Kaufman
David Letterman
David Malebranche
democrats
Denmark
Desperate Housewives
Destiny's Child
Detroit
Deutsche AIDS-Hilfe
Dick Cheney
dieting
disclosure
disco
discrimination
disidentification
Disney
divas
DOMA
douche bags
douching
drag queens
drugs
DSM
eagle
Ebay
Economics
economy
Edmund White
elderly
elections
Elizabeth Pisani
Ellen DeGeneres
England
epidemiology
epistemology
Eric Leven
Eric Rofes
español
Ethan Suniewick
Ethel Merman
ethics
ethnocentrism
European Union
Eurovision
Evan Wolfson
exams
Facebook
facial
family
Family Guy
fascism
Fashion
Father's Day
fausto fernos
FDA
feastoffun
FEMA
femininity
feminism
Feminist men
Ferndale
Film studies
Fiona Apple
fiscal responsibility
fisting
fitness
Florida
flow
foreclosure
FOX News
Frameline
France
free speech
Frontiers
FTM
Ganymede
Gary Dowsett
gas prices
gay bashing
Gay bitch
Gay City
gay gene
Gay icons
gay male culture
gay marriage
gay men
gay men's health
Gay Men's Health Leadership Academy
Gay Men's Health Summit
Gay Pride
gay sex
gay stuff
Gay.com
gayborhood
Gayle Rubin
geisha
gender identity
genderfuck
genetics
George W Bush
Germany
Gilbert Herdt
Giovanni's Room
GLAAD
GLBT Historical Society
GLBTSA
GLEE
Glenn Beck
GLF
global health
Gold Coast
Golden Girls
Golden Globes
goldstar
Google
graduate school
Grindr
Guillermo del Toro
H1N1
Haiti
hanky code
Harlequin Superromance
harm reduction
Harry Potter
Harvard
Harvey Milk
hate crimes
HBO
health care
Heather Cassils
Helen Goddard
herpes
heteronormativity
heterosexism
high school
higher education
Hillary Clinton
hipsters
HIV
HIV / AIDS
HIV Panic
HIV Prevention
HIV testing
HIV-positive
Hollywood
homofobia
homophobia
Homophobia
hooking up online
hospitals
HPPC
HPV
Human Rights Campaign
Hurricane Katrina
identity politics
Illinois
IML
immigration
India
individualism
Indonesia
inequality
Inga Muscio
insomnia
Institutional Review Board
insurance companies
intergenerational intimacy
International Mr. Leather
Internet
intersex
Iowa
iPhone
Iran
Iraq
Islam
Israel
iTunes
Ivy League
Jackson Bowman
James Baldwin
James Schuyler
Janet Jackson
Japan
Jean Genet
Jim Pickett
Joe Lieberman
John D'Emilio
John McCain
Jon Stewart
journalism
Juanita More
Judith Butler
Julia Serano
juventud
Juventud
k.d. lang
Kane Race
Kansas
Kansas City
Kanye West
Karl Rove
katastrophe
Kathy Griffin
keith green
Kevin Jennings
Kim & Cookie
kitsch
Kylie Minogue
LA Gay & Lesbian Center
Lady Gaga
LAMBDA
Lambda Literary Foundation
lark ballinger
Larry Kramer
Las Vegas
latino
Lauryn Hill
lawyers
leadership
leather
Legends
Les Natali
lesbians
LGBT Cinema
LGBT culture
LGBT history
LGBT politics
LGBT youth
lgbti health summit
LGBTI Health Summit
libertarianism
Lifelube
Lisa Marie Presley
literary
Liza Minelli
LOGO
London
long term nonprogressors
Longtime Companion
Lord of the Rings
Los Angeles
Los Angeles Times
love
lube
Madonna
Magnet SF
Maine
malaria
Malaysia
ManAlive
Mandy Carter
Manhunt
marc felion
Marilyn Monroe
Marion Cotillard
Mark Snyder
Mark Wunderlich
Married Men
Martha Nussbaum
Martin Luther King Jr.
masculinity
Massachusetts
masturbation
Mattachine Society
Matthew Shepard
Medicine
mentorship
Meredith Vieira
methodology
Mexico
Michael Hurley
Michael Jackson
Michael Moore
Michael Petrelis
Michael Scarce
Michael Warner
Michel Foucault
Michelangelo Signorile
Michigan
Michigan Daily
Microsoft
Middle East
Mika
military
Million Dollar Bill
Minnesota
monogamy
moral panics
morality
Mormon Church
Moscow
Movable Type
Movimiento LGBTTT en México
MRSA
MTV
museveni
music
music videos
mythology
nair
NAMBLA
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
National Sexuality Resource Center
NBC
Necto
needle exchange
Needles Jones
negative men
neo-nazi
neoliberalism
Netherlands
New York City
New York Times
New Zealand
newspapers
Newsweek
NGLTF
Nicole Kidman
No Doubt
North Carolina
Obama
obesity
okcupid
Olympics
Ongina
Oprah
oral sex
orgies
Original Plumbing
Out Magazine
Outfest
Outkast
Palestine
Pamela Conover
Pansy Division
parenting
Paris
Paris Hilton
Pat Califia
Pat Robertson
Patriot Act
Paul Newman
Peaches
Pedophilia
Perez Hilton
perfume
Peru
Peter Tatchell
pharmaceuticals
Philadelphia
Philippines
philosophy
photography
piercings
plagiarism
Planned Parenthood
pleasure
podcasting
poetry
police
police brutality
poppers
pornography
positional identity
Post exposure prophylaxis
post-race
postmodernism
Powell's
Poz Magazine
Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis
PrEP
President Obama
Pride
Princeton
print media
Prison-industrial complex
progressive
Project Runway
Proposition 8
prospect theory
psychology
public health
public sex
Puebla
Puerto Rico
Queen Latifah
Queer as Folk
queer identity
queer politics
queer studies
queer theory
QueerToday.com
Question of the Day
Quotes from People's Profiles
Rachel Maddow
racialized desire
racism
Racism
Radical Faeries
radio
raid
Raleigh
Rape
recording industry
rectal microbicides
refreshing
religion
RENT
Rene Zellweger
reproductive health
Republican Bastards
Republican party
research
retreat
Richard Labonte
rimming
risky business
Rita Hayworth
Road Trip
Robert Novak
Robyn
Roe v. Wade
Rome
Romeo Void
Royal Oak
RuPaul
RussaYog
Russia
russian river
Saint Foucault
Salon.com
Sam Sparro
San Francisco
San Francisco AIDS Foundation
San Francisco State University
Sarah Palin
Sasha Baren Cohen
Saturday Night Live
Scarlet Johansson
School violence
Scissor Sisters
Scooter Libby
Scott's life
Search engines
Seattle
September 11th
seroadaptation
serosorting
Sex and the City
sex education
sex offenders
Sex Panic
sex work
sex-negativity
Sexism
sexology
SexPols
sexual ethics
sexual health
sexual scripting
Sexuality & LGBT Studies
Sexuality & LGBT Studies
SF Weekly
silver foxes
sissyphobia
Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence
size queens
smoking
social justice
social marketing
social networking
social science
socialism
Sociology
Sordid Lives
South Africa
South America
South Park
Spain
spanish
sports
Starbucks
statistics
Steamworks
stem cells
stereotypes
stigma
stock market
Stonewall
stop AIDS
straight people
suburbia
Sue Hyde
superinfection
Supreme Court
Susan Kippax
Susan Stryker
Suzanne Pharr
Switzerland
syphilis
Taiwan
taso
technology
Ted White
Telephone
television
terrorism
Thailand
Thanksgiving
The Advocate
The Anonymous Gay Sex Column
The Bottom Monologues
The Gayest Podcast in Michigan
The L Word
The Netherlands
The Onion
the South
The Today Show
The Vatican
The View from the Bottom
The Village People
threesomes
Time Magazine
Tina Fey
Toe up
Tom DeLay
Tony Valenzuela
tops
Toronto
Transamerican Love Story
transgender
transphobia
tricks
Troy Wood
Tucker Carlson
Twilight Series
twinks
Twitter
uganda
Ugly Betty
UNC Chapel Hill
unemployment
Union Square
United Kingdom
United Nations
Unity Conference
University of Michigan
Urvashi Vaid
Utah
vacation
vaccine
Vagina Monologues
vaginas
Valentine's Day
vampires
Vermont
Veteran's Day
Viagra
Victoria Beckham
Village Voice
voting
Walmart
Washington DC
wax
Wendy Brown
Whitney Houston
Wicked
William Way
Wisconsin
women of color
Women's Studies
World Health Organization
Xtube
yoga
young gay men
youth
Youtube
Zimbabwe
zines
zoology
mile Durkheim